lundi 17 janvier 2011

Itching for a conflict?

On the surface, a conflict-free life may seem ideal. Many individuals seem to be on the lookout for a stress-free life — things are simple, challenges are few and interpersonal conflicts are non-existent.

Most experts agree, however, that conflict can not always be avoided—it is a part of life. But it can also be a positive experience since it often presents an opportunity to better understand those around us and improve our interactions with them.

In a conflict, the positions and concerns of two individuals may first appear to be miles apart. During a conflict, individuals can be assertive (even aggressive) in trying to satisfy their wants and needs. Alternatively, they can cooperate and try to placate the other person, or attempt to reach a compromise – or respond to the needs and wants of both parties.

Conventional wisdom recognizes, for example, that often "Two heads are better than one" and as such we should collaborate in a conflict situation. On the other hand, some would argue that "Might makes right" and we should try to win at any cost.

As psychologists, we have seen that individual manage conflict in a variety of ways. Conflict management strategies suggest using a set of social skills (e.g. listening, assertiveness, cooperation, problem-solving, persuasion, negotiation). While each conflict situation will often determine the best conflict-handling strategy to be used, we all have our preferred ways of managing interpersonal conflicts and often resort to one strategy type over others.

jeudi 6 janvier 2011

Daily Grind or Work-life Balance - It's Your Choice!

Daily our lives are filled with a variety of personal, family-related and professional responsibilities and obligations. Most people are successful in developing strategies to manage the repetitive aspects of their every day routines – or "the daily grind".

It's the unexpected events and/or last minute demands in our lives that seem to catch many of us off guard and that influence our ability to deal with them effectively.

There are a number of strategies that can help individuals better cope with the psychological and physical impacts of their life/work stressors. Preventative strategies, such as exercise, balanced diet, relaxation, deep breathing, and adequate sleep build our resilience to stress. In fact, it has been shown that adopting a healthier and more active lifestyle works.

Other coping strategies, including assuming a more positive and realistic outlook on life demands and seeking social support, have also proven to be beneficial in managing stress.

I believe that our ultimate goal is to lead a happier and more meaningful life. For many, this begins by tackling the numerous life stressors first and by attempting to achieve work-life balance.